EeePC text editor

It is strange there isn’t an option in the EeePC file manager to create a new file so how do you create one? It’s easy enough with the installed text editor kwrite, which can be started up from a terminal window (Ctrl + Alt + T) by simply typing ‘kwrite’. Within kwrite you can then save your new file where you like. If you need to edit a file that requires root permissions then you can use ‘sudo kwrite filename’.

The good old reliable text editor vi is also available in the shape of vim, type ‘man vim’ from a console window for more info.

EeePC Advanced Mode

The EeePC starts up in a simple interface (Easy Mode) to make it easy to use and access the installed applications, but you can change this and get a regular Linux desktop which Asus call ‘Advanced Mode’ or ‘Full Desktop Mode’. A couple of programs need to be installed to access Advanced Mode, as described below, make sure you answer Y when asked if you want to install them:

(this applies to the EeePC 701 4GB version and is untested on anything else)

  1. Open a console window (CTRL-ALT-T)
  2. sudo bash
  3. apt-get update
  4. apt-get install ksmserver kicker
  5. Restart – it will restart into Easy Mode

When you shut down your EeePC you will now have an extra option to switch to Full Desktop…

EeePC Shutdown Screen

Selecting Full Destop will restart your EeePC in Advanced Mode.

Next time you start your EeePC, however, it will revert back to Easy Mode. You can change that in Settings > Personalization by changing the Login Mode to Full desktop mode.

My EeePC has arrived

At last, my EeePC arrived yesterday and I eagerly unpacked it. A glance at the quick reference guide and I had the battery in and the little thing on charge in no time. After all the waiting to get one of these I now had to wait a little longer until the battery is charged… but I couldn’t help turning it on briefly to have a quick look. I went through the initial setup, had a quick look around and decided I had better turn it off and le the battery charge fully.

The main reason for buying an EeePC (besides ‘I just want one’) is because I want to be able to backup photos from my digital camera when I am away from home. The idea is that I have a USB card reader and can copy my images from a compact flash card to an external 2.5 inch hard drive in the same way I do on my desktop PC, so I was quite keen to test what I need to do when these devices are plugged into the USB slots. To my surprise every USB device I have plugged in so far just works! When I plug any external storage device (hard drive, CF card in a reader or a USB flash drive) into a USB slot then, in a very MS Windows way, a little window pops up and asks what you want to do; open in File Manager or copy files etc. When I choose Open in File Manager I find the device is mounted and ready to go, easy.

On my desktop PC I use a Python script to copy files from my CF cards. The script renames the files to my own format, and copys the files to 2 hard drives. It will also separate out the jpg files from raw files if I have set my camera to take both. I was very please then to find out that Python 2.4 is already installed! Not that I suspect it would have been a problem to install Python (although it might) but it just means it is one less thing to do to. My Python script then will, with a little bit of modification, do the job very well. I will share both my Windows and Linux version of the script at some point.

Formatting external USB drive to FAT32

I have bought a 160GB Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini for use with my, as yet undelivered, Asus EeePC 701 (4GB, black) and I wanted to format it as FAT32. As I dont have the EeePC yet I tried this under Windows XP and was puzzled why I only had the option to format to NTFS. A quick search around the net and I find that aside from the initial install XP will not format a drive as FAT32 that is larger than 32GB!… how strange!… so what I need is a little utility and after another search I find myself at http://www.pendrivelinux.com with a recommendation for SwissKnife v3. Initially this software crashed whenever I clicked on the USB drive because I don’t think it liked the fact that there was an empty primary partition on it (previously created in XP) so I went back into Computer Management in XP and formatted it to NTSF… and then SwissKnife recognised it and started formatting the drive to FAT32. Once it had finished I was a bit puzzled initially because it was still showing up as NTFS in Windows Explorer but I unplugged it and re-connected it and all was fine after that. I think it might have been easier to wait and format it with the EeePC! :-)

Why FAT32?
I want to use an EeePC, external drive and CF card reader combination as an ‘on location’ backup for my photographs taken with my digital camera. I figured that FAT32 would be better for my purposes as NTFS write support seems a little inconsistent. As this is a backup situation ‘playing safe’ seems the best policy rather than finding I cannot read the files on my Windows PC due to them not being written correctly with my EeePC.